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Twin Cities meteorologist Eric Ahasic wins second Jeopardy! episode

After 16 tries to get on Jeopardy!, Eric Ahasic now has two wins under his belt. He beat former champ Ryan Long, who had won 16 games in a row, on Monday.

MINNEAPOLIS, Minnesota — Like many fans of Jeopardy!, Twin Cities meteorologist Eric Ahasic dreamed of making it on "America's Favorite Quiz Show." That dream has now come true in a big way, after Ahasic won his second episode Tuesday, bringing his winnings to just over $40,000. 

Ahasic grew up in Champaign, Ill. playing trivia with his family during road trips and competing on the Quiz Bowl team. 

He remembers the first time he really watched Jeopardy! in 2004 when Ken Jennings went on an unprecedented 74-game victory streak worth $2.52 million. 

"I started trying out in 2006 when I was in high school and I've pretty much tried out every year since," Ahasic said. 

To get on the show, you have to first take a test online. If you pass, you take another test. Pass that one, and you get an audition. 

This spring, Ahasic finally made it on. A high pressure situation for the meteorologist who has been working at the National Weather Service in Chanhassen since 2016. 

"It's something you look forward to your entire life, right? But it was also extremely nerve-racking because you only get one shot. This is it. I wouldn't say it's like my life's goal or dream but I've been wanting to do this for a long time and you only have one shot at it," Ahasic said. 

Ahasic, who lives in Minneapolis, decided to make a trip out of it with a week-long visit to California. 

The episode filmed in April. At the time, reigning champion Ryan Long had just won his 16th game — one of the longest streaks in the show's history. 

Credit: Jeopardy!
Eric Ahasic with Jeopardy! host Mayim Bialik.

Jeopardy! films five episodes in one day. 

"So I'm there in the morning. I'm nervous, there's a super smart guy there, and so I'm just like, 'Don't let me be first... let me watch a game or two. Relax a bit.' Of course, 'We'll have Eric and Stephanie; you're up first,'" Ahasic recalled. 

The staff helped ease his nerves. There was also a rehearsal prior to filming the episode. 

Once competing, Ahasic found his footing. Filming goes by fast, lasting about 20 minutes. By Final Jeopardy!, he had a little bit of a lead. 

"I was nervous writing my answer down. I didn't know it at first. I stared at the question. I was like, 'Oh no, I'm going to be one of those people that has the lead and gets it wrong and loses at the end. Then I kind of sat and just kept thinking, kept thinking. Well, I don't know it but I have a pretty good guess so I put my guess down and my hand was shaking," Ahasic recalled. 

He went on to say, "When Mayim Bialik, the host, said, 'You're right,' it's shock. I think I kind of did like a fist pump and just what do you do in that moment?... it's overwhelming." 

Ahasic's friends and family held a watch party on Monday afternoon. Ahasic talked about how grateful he is for a family that always supported his love of learning. 

Ahasic ended Long's winning streak. Only eight other players in the show's history have won more games than the rideshare driver from Philadelphia. Ahasic said he was inspired by Ryan's story.  

"It's almost like you almost wish he could keep winning. He had such a great story and it's like I want to see him keep winning but also I want to win," Ahasic said. "Eventually everyone always loses on Jeopardy! so someone had to beat him; I guess it was lucky enough to be me." 

Ahasic's third episode airs Wednesday, June 8, as he takes on math teacher Maggie Sharpe from Los Angeles, and graphic designer Tessa Matsuzaki from Vancouver. 

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